A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Chicago vs. Denver for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Families

Should you visit Chicago or Denver?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Chicago and Denver can help you decide which place is right for you.

Chicago

Chicago is a vibrant, multicultural, and edgey city. With plenty of activities and things to do, it's a huge city that draws plenty of visitors. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. And you can't forget about the museums, theater, and nightlife.

Denver

Denver is a sprawling and park-filled city. Because this is such a big city, visitors will find many sights and attractions around town. Other popular activities here include hiking, skiing, and nightlife.

Chicago and Denver: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Good nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
  • Big city activities
Pros
  • Family-friendly
Cons
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable


How is Chicago different from Denver?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Denver and Chicago. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is Chicago or Denver better for Museums and Historical Sights?

People who enjoy wandering through museums and other attractions will appreciate a visit to Chicago a bit more than Denver.

You'll find many recognizable landmarks that put Chicago on the map. Some of the most famous are the Art Institute of Chicago, Adler Planetarium, and the Museum of Science and Industry. Notable landmarks include the famous Willis Tower - formerly the Sears Tower, Buckingham Fountain, and the iconic Cloud Gate (the bean).

While most people don't head to Denver specifically for the museums and attractions, it does offer a few options. Popular museums include the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the History Colorado Center, and the Forney Museum of Transportation.

Chicago
Denver


Is Chicago or Denver better for Food?

Chicago has a longer list of notable local restaurants than Denver.

Chicago has long been recognized as a culinary destination with great restaurants. While you're in town you have to try the famous deep dish pizza, Chicago style hot dogs, and Italian beef.

Denver offers some easy restaurants to choose from. While you're in town you should try the Bison steak and fried pickles.

Chicago
Denver

Is Chicago or Denver better for Nightlife?

Chicago has the better options when it comes to nightlife.

Chicago is a destination that you simply have to visit at least once for nightlife. Popular bars and clubs include the Smart Bar, Beauty Bar, and Le Nocturne.

If you're looking for night time activities Denver has a few options to choose from. The city has come a long way with its nightlife. Popular bars and clubs in town include the Grizzly Rose and 54Thirty Rooftop. Many places are concentrated in the Soco Nightlife District.

Chicago
Denver

Is Chicago or Denver better for Families?

You'll find kid-friendly activities in either Chicago or Denver.

Chicago is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. The city has a large number of activities for kids, including zoos, Shedd Aquarium, impressive children's museums, and large and elaborate playgrounds in Millennium Park.

Denver offers lots of family activities. It is a family-friendly city with museums, playgrounds, and plenty of outdoor activities. There are also a few ropes courses near town that kids and adults alike will enjoy.

Chicago
Denver

Is Chicago or Denver better for Public Transit?

Chicago provides more public transit options than Denver.

Chicago has a great public transit system. There's a subway (the "L"), a commuter well, as well as buses and countless taxis available.

While Denver offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. If you're not planning to leave town, the light rail and bus systems offers good access to much of Denver.

Chicago
Denver


Is Chicago or Denver a more walkable city?

Chicago is more walkable than Denver.

Chicago is a very walkable destination. The city has many restaurants, sights, and hotels that are easily accessible on foot.

Denver is not a very walkable city. While the downtown area is generally walkable, this is still a sprawling city where you'll really want to have a car to access areas outside of town.

Chicago
Denver

Should I spend more time in Denver or Chicago?

How long in Chicago or Denver?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Chicago and Denver. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Chicago than Denver.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Chicago is 3-5 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Denver is 2-3 days.


  • How many days in Chicago or Denver? Ideal Length of Stay
    Chicago 3-5 
    Denver 2-3

One day in Chicago or Denver?

Chicago is a bustling city that offers something for everyone. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

In Denver, you'll find skiing and nightlife. This city offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

A weekend in Chicago or Denver?

Chicago is a great place to explore. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

In Denver, you'll find nightlife and skiing. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Denver has to offer.

Five days in Chicago or Denver?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Chicago. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. With all of its activities, you can easily fill five days here. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Denver is a great place to explore. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.


A week in Chicago or Denver?

Travelers enjoy the museums and theater when visiting the edgey big city of Chicago. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Denver. One week may feel like too much time here unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

Which city is cheaper, Denver or Chicago?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Chicago is $221, while the average daily cost in Denver is $174. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Chicago and Denver in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Chicago $152
    Denver $69
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Chicago $304
    Denver $138

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Chicago $29
    Denver $81
Typical Local Transportation prices in Chicago

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Chicago:


  • Parking
    $19
  • Taxi Ride
    $10
  • Taxi from Airport
    $45

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Chicago

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Chicago:

  • Private Airport Transfer: O’Hare International Airport (ORD) to Chicago: $43
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Chicago to O’Hare International Airport (ORD): $43
  • Private Airport Transfer: Midway International Airport (MDW) to Chicago: $55
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Chicago to Midway International Airport (MDW): $55
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Chicago Midway Airport to Chicago City: $66
  • Private Departure Transfer from Chicago City to Midway International Airport: $66
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Chicago O'Hare Airport to Chicago City: $78
  • Private Departure Transfer from Chicago City to O'Hare International Airport: $78
  • Arrival Private Transfer Chicago O'Hare Airport ORD to Chicago by Sedan Car: $79
  • Departure Private Transfer Chicago City to O'Hare Airport ORD by Sedan Car: $79
  • Private Departure Transfer to Chicago Airports (ORD)(MDW): $80
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Chicago Airports (ORD) (MDW): $80

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Denver

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Denver:

  • Arrival Private Transfer Denver Airport DEN to Denver City by Luxury Car: $117
  • Arrival Private Transfer Denver Airport DEN to Denver City by Minibus: $217
  • Arrival Private Transfer Denver Airport DEN to Denver City by SUV: $142
  • Arrival Private Transfers from Denver Airport DEN to Denver in Business Car: $109
  • Arrival Private Transfers from Denver Airport DEN to Denver in Luxury Van: $130
  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Aspen hotel or address - Arrival Private Transfer: $796
  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Aspen hotel or address - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $1,592
  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Avon/Vail Valley - Arrival Private Transfer: $429
  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Avon/Vail Valley - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $858
  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Breckenridge - Arrival Private Transfer: $404
  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Breckenridge - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $809
  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Denver hotel or address - Arrival Private Transfer: $68

Is it cheaper to fly into Chicago or Denver?

Prices for flights to both Denver and Chicago change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Chicago $37
    Denver $34
Typical Food prices in Chicago

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Chicago:


  • Dinner for 1
    $24
  • Dinner for 3
    $118

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Chicago

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Chicago.

  • Traveling Spoon Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza Private Online Cooking Class: $27
  • Learn to Make Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza with a Local: $49
  • Lonely Planet Experiences: River North Historical Food Tour: $61
  • Private Fusion Cooking Class in Downtown Chicago: $64
  • Best in Chow: Chicago River North Food Tour: $64
  • Signature Food Tour at Chicago's Navy Pier: $64
  • Skip the Line: Tommy Gun's Garage Dinner and Show Ticket: $67
  • Small-Group Chicago Food Tour: Gold Coast and Old Town: $75
  • Best of Chicago Tour Including a Deep-Dish Pizza: $75
  • River North Walking Food Tour: $75
  • Chicago's Wicker Park Food Tour: $75
  • Private Indian-Mexican Fusion Cooking Class with a Modern Cook: $78

Typical Food prices in Denver

Some typical examples of dining costs in Denver are as follows:


  • Sushi Dinner (for 2)
    $61

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Denver

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Denver.

  • Small-Group Food Tour in Denver: $69
  • Haunted Denver Walking Food Tour: $73
  • The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Dinner Show - Denver: $77
  • Walking Food Tour - Best of Union Station & LoDo: $79
  • Denver Cooking Classes-Local, seasonal, and hands on menus: $97

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Chicago $34
    Denver $42
Typical Entertainment prices in Chicago

Here are a few typical costs in Chicago for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Sears Tower (family of 4)
    $102
  • Aquarium for 4
    $118
  • Water Taxi (family of 4)
    $22
  • IMAX Movie for Two
    $35
  • Shakespeare Play (2)
    $116
  • Art Institute (2)
    $36
  • U-Boat Tour (2)
    $8.00

Tours and Activities in Chicago

Here are a few actual costs in Chicago for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • A Storied Neighborhood: Dance the dialectic with Bill Ayers on an audio tour: $5.00
  • Discovering Vintage The Loop Walking Audio Tour by VoiceMap: $5.34
  • Riverwalk Self-Guided Walking Tour: $6.00
  • Millennium Park Self-Guided Walking Tour: $6.00
  • Chicago Riverwalk Self-Guided Walking Tour: $6.00
  • Skip the Line: American Writers Museum Admission Ticket: $14
  • Pilsen Walking Tour of Local Publicly Displayed Art: $15
  • Behind-the-Scenes Tour of Historic Chicago Theatre: $18
  • Chicago Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $21
  • Windy City Ghost Tour: $24
  • Street Art & Mural Tours By Native 312- Wabash Arts Corridor: $25
  • In the Streets: Milwaukee Ave Guided Bike Tour: $25

Tours and Activities in Denver

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Denver are as follows:

  • Spokes and Scoops: Explore Denver's top ice cream spots on an audio bicycle tour: $5.20
  • Denver Ghost Hunt: Mile High Ghost Tour: $12
  • Virtual Reality Experiences for Everyone: $21
  • Denver Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $21
  • Best of Denver Tour: $22
  • Capitol Hill History & Ghost Tour: $22
  • Twilight Ghost Tour: $22
  • Denver Ghost Tour: $23
  • 1.5 Hour LoDo Walking Tour in Denver: $25
  • Moscow Mule Experience: $32
  • From Mining to Modern Walking Tour of Denver: $35
  • History and Whiskey Tour in Denver: $35

For more ideas for your next trip, check out The Best Free Things to Do in Chicago, Chicago Bucket List: The Best Places to See, and The Best Museums in Chicago.


Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Chicago $20
    Denver $4.25

Sample the Local Flavors in Chicago

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Chicago:

  • Haunted Chicago Ghost and Pub Walking Tour: $25
  • Walking tour to Chicago dive bars: $41
  • Chicago Barrel Bus Craft Distillery Tour: $90
  • Chicago Craft Brewery Barrel Bus Tour: $90
  • Ultimate Girl's Night Out in Sparkling Wine, Photo Shoot, Burlesque: $900

Sample the Local Flavors in Denver

Also in Denver, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Haunted Denver Ghost and Pub Walking Tour in Lower Downtown: $26
  • Haunted Denver Ghost and Pub Walking Tour - South Broadway (SoBo): $27
  • 3-Hour Brewery Walking Tour: $49
  • Craft Distillery Bus Tour: $71


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Chicago and Denver, we can see that Chicago is more expensive. And not only is Denver much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Denver would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Denver and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Chicago would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Chicago than you might in Denver.

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Chicago vs. Denver Travel Comparison

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